“Then they called out in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to terrify them and make them afraid in order to capture the city.” (2 Chronicles 32:18, NIV2)
Things were very hard for Europeans during World War I. Germany was a formidable foe, an adversary unwilling to be defeated, and the war left behind thousands of disheartened, discouraged people. They would never choose to experience such a thing again, and they would do anything in their power to avoid another war.
When in 1935, roughly twenty years later, Hitler’s repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles sped up his rearmament program, and thus made his ambitions very clear, no one in Europe dared to oppose him. Why? They were too focused on avoiding another terrible war!
In March 1938, Hitler annexed Austria. Again there was hardly any reaction from other European countries, and they didn’t even respond when he insisted on claiming Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia that had a large German population, for Germany later that same year! France and Great Britain quickly conceded this piece of the country to Germany through the Munich agreement! Anything to avoid war!
A year later however, Poland was invaded by Nazi troops, and by that time it was too late to stop the menace from awakening. Panic and discouragement reigned in many European countries. Belgians, for example, fearful that Germany would once again use gas against them, rushed to transform the underground tunnels of the Citadelle in Namur (A large fortified fortress) into a gas-protected shelter. In the end, much of their war effort went into this one project, but unfortunately, they hadn’t finished all of the anti-gas doors when Germany reached Belgium. Not that it mattered. Germany never used gas during WW II!
Discouragement and fear are choice weapons that will render any army useless. It is also the choice weapon of any evil force: “The thief (The evil one) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV2) Terrorism has but one purpose, after all: To defeat through fear and discouragement!
Have you ever wondered why the news is filled with such scary events? And have you noticed how discouragement even reaches into the ranks of the saints, paralyzing even those who serve God?
Maybe if we would try to use a bit more wisdom, we would realize where fear is coming from. Especially when it shows up in all possible venues! Who would have ever imagined, for instance, that anyone would ever shoot at kids aged 5-10, like they did in the recent school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut?
There is only one who specializes in such tactics, and just like Hitler’s mind was set on defeat, this is also the devil’s ultimate goal.
Have you ever wondered why so many under Hitler’s control refrained from helping those who were destined to end up in concentration camps? Terrorism discourages and paralyzes to the very core of our being, so much so that our survival instinct can completely snuff out any sign of love! Would we have done differently?
How different were Jesus’ intentions. He could have come down from heaven with a sword in His hand, even though we were the ones who had deliberately wandered away from Him! Instead He came to pour out genuine love on each one of us. His love was so evident that many couldn’t help but be attracted to Him. Who else would be willing to die for the ungrateful? Who else would love us so unconditionally, even though we were far from being righteous?
There is a difference between hatred and love. The first hungers for destruction, the second, for reconciliation. Those of us who believe are not supposed to be the ones who are vindictive, discouraged and defeated. We are the ones who are forgiven, emboldened, at peace — and filled with genuine love!
Who will we serve?
(To access the entire “Hell’s Tactics” devotional series, please click here.)